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St. Joseph Catholic Church holds Blue Mass honoring police, public safety officers

By Ryan Aston - | May 12, 2024

Ryan Aston, Standard-Examiner

Mayor Ben Nadolski was among the dignitaries in attendance for the Blue Mass at Ogden's Saint Joseph Catholic Church on Friday, May 10, 2024.

OGDEN — As an unofficial kickoff to National Police Week, which will be recognized across the U.S. this week, a “Blue Mass” honoring first responders and public safety officers from local departments was held Friday evening at downtown Ogden’s St. Joseph Catholic Church.

“It’s basically a celebration, giving the parishioners and the community of Ogden and St. Joseph the opportunity to recognize the sacrifice of public safety,” John Valdez — a retired officer of the Ogden City Police Department, who now serves as its chaplain — told the Standard-Examiner. “It’s not only for the police department, but it’s the fire department and dispatchers, etc.”

The service was the first of its kind to be held at St. Joseph, according to Valdez, and dignitaries — including Ogden Mayor Ben Nadolski — joined parishioners, officers and other visitors in participating.

Valdez says the hope is to make the Blue Mass a yearly tradition in Ogden. Meanwhile, the Rev. Joshua Maria Santos, who during the service praised first responders for the sacrifices they make, referred to it as a first “annual” event.

“He wants to expand it from this point into the future, really trying to break down the barriers of how people feel toward law enforcement in general,” Valdez said.

St. Joseph’s Blue Mass was conceptualized by Valdez and Ogden City Police Capt. Tim Scott as an effort of the department’s Peer Support Team, which works with officers to help them cope with the rigors and trauma that come with being involved with law enforcement. Valdez noted that the mass was “not an effort to proselytize or convert,” but an opportunity to “come together as a community of people.”

A special collection was taken during the mass to benefit the family of Sgt. Bill Hooser of the Santaquin Police Department. Hooser was killed May 5 after being hit by a semitruck while assisting a Utah Highway Patrol officer with a traffic stop of the same vehicle.

Funeral services for Hooser will be held at 10 a.m. Monday at Utah Valley University’s UCCU Event Center in Orem and are open to the public. A public viewing will be held Sunday at Apple Valley Elementary School in Santaquin from 4-8 p.m.

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